The Wall Street Journal has decided to ban the use of the term “illegal immigrant” or “illegals” for those individuals living in the country illegally.
According to an update in its style guide, the WSJ stated that “There isn’t one term that describes the millions of people who are in the U.S. but are neither citizens nor lawful permanent residents.”
They comment that the media outlet’s news pages usually described illegal immigrants as such, but that the style guide had strongly cautioned against the use of the term “illegal aliens.” For the WSJ, other terms such as “unauthorized” or “undocumented” are euphemisms.
The stylebook now says that “illegal immigration describes the actions of people who cross borders illegally or remain in a country after their legal right to stay has expired.” Now, the guidance determines that the use of the word “illegal” be directed toward the act and not people: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant.
“When describing a broad category of immigrants, use alternatives such as immigrants who entered the country illegally … people living in the U.S. unlawfully or without the legal right…. When needed, the phrase lacking permanent legal status is accurate shorthand covering both those in the country illegally and those with a protected status that shields them from deportation”, states the document.
“Illegal immigration,” the Journal continues, “is a highly charged issue that must be addressed with precision and sensitivity, without taking sides or resorting to pejorative labels or euphemisms that avoid calling acts that violate immigration law for what they are: illegal.” For the media, the correct usage is to speak in the sense of an act and gives as an example that then-President Donald Trump made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his presidency.
“But shorthand phrases commonly used in the USA (illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants, unauthorized immigrants, illegal aliens) have become politicized or lack precision. Don’t use these labels except when quoting people or official documents.”
The Wall Street Journal, however, is not alone in promoting this kind of linguistic political correctness. Joe Biden has also aligned himself, for a change, with these woke usages.
According to Axios, the Biden administration is calling on its officials to use more inclusive terms for immigrants; among the options offered for the “new speak” is replacing the word “alien” with “non-citizen.”
Other changes included in a memo signed by the Department of Homeland Security is the use of “undocumented citizen” or “undocumented individual” instead of “illegal alien” and “integration or civic integration” instead of “assimilation.”